DAYBREAK DAILY: Warner, McDonnell mull their futures

ABC7 TRAFFIC: ‘Good Morning Washington’ has updates every 10 minutes beginning at 4:30 a.m.

ABC7 WEATHER: Periods of rain early then partly cloudy with highs in the low 60s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the stories – Exhaustive coverage of the Nationals’ home opener; a preview of the White House Easter Egg roll; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: Stephen Strasburg is ready for his first big league season without restrictions. Ready to go from season's start to finish. Ready to throw as many pitches as it takes and to stay on the mound as long as possible. The All-Star ace will start the season opener Monday afternoon at Nats Park.

MULLING THE FUTURE: And, perhaps, a race?, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va. and Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, who consistently rank as Virginia’s most popular politicians, face key choices about their futures. Virginia’s law barring a governor from seeking consecutive terms means such chatter picks up as an administration winds down. A new University of Mary Washington survey offers an early look at two of the leaders’ options.

“Warner holds a commanding lead over McDonnell in a hypothetical 2014 U.S. Senate matchup, receiving 51 percent to McDonnell’s 35 percent, according to the poll of 1,004 Virginia adults. But both fare well in potential presidential primary matchups for 2016. McDonnell comes in second among Republicans to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Warner finishes second among Democrats to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

CRABBY PATTY: Or not, per the Baltimore Sun, “April 1 is the official start to the blue crab harvest in Maryland. But don't reach for your mallet just yet. "It's not time for crabs," said Jessica Borowski, a manager at Midtown BBQ and Brew. "It's too cold out." The crabs seem to agree. The Chesapeake Bay's water temperature hasn't risen enough for the crabs to become active — and catchable. Consumers set on Maryland crabs will see limited availability for now — and prices to match.”

GAMBLING WARS: There’s a new player at the table, per the Washington Post, “For years, casinos in West Virginia and Delaware siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars in gambling revenue from Marylanders. Now Maryland is poised to win back increasing numbers of those gamblers — and their millions. Next week, the state’s largest casino will introduce blackjack, craps, roulette and other live-
action games. Maryland Live will offer 24-hour play at 122 tables, more than Delaware’s three racetrack casinos combined and more, too, than West Virginia’s cash cow, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.

“The debut of those table games will mark the latest step in Maryland’s dramatic expansion of commercial gambling. It will also mark an escalation of the casino wars — a battle for the hearts, minds and money of Maryland gamblers.”

SWITCHAROO: Of a different tune, per the New York Times, “It was, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada ebulliently proclaimed, a “happy day for me” as he stood with Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, in 2010 at a new shooting range in Las Vegas made possible by federal money secured by Mr. Reid. “People who criticize this probably would criticize baseball,” Mr. Reid said before firing off a few rounds.

“These days, Mr. Reid, the Senate majority leader, is far more likely to meet with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, an outspoken advocate of stricter gun control, than with Mr. LaPierre as he prepares to bring the most expansive package of gun safety legislation in a decade to the Senate floor over the next few weeks.”

LATINOS AND THE GOP: Healthcare a sticking point, per the Los Angeles Times, “As Republican leaders try to woo Latino voters with a new openness to legal status for the nation's illegal immigrants, the party remains at odds with America's fastest-growing ethnic community on another key issue: healthcare. Latinos, who have the lowest rates of health coverage in the country, are among the strongest backers of President Obama's healthcare law. In a recent national poll, supporters outnumbered detractors by more than 2 to 1. Latinos also overwhelmingly see guaranteeing healthcare as a core government responsibility, surveys show.”

POLITICO PLAY: “The preferred plot line for many in the GOP establishment for revitalizing their party goes something like this; they move to a more libertarian stance on key social issues - particularly same-sex marriage - and the Bible-thumping, evangelical wing of the party meekly complies, realizing times have changed. One problem with that scenario, however: the Christian Right, while a diminished force, doesn’t like how that story ends at all.”

STREETCAR PROJECT: Just the facts, per ABC7 – WJLA, “A project to make getting around parts of the District a little easier and a bit more fun kicks off Monday. Work on the DC Streetcar Project begins on H Street and Benning Road. The construction will continue through the middle of June.”

CHECK US OUT: A message from Maryland, per Gazette.Net, “Frederick County officials will visit three bonding agencies in New York City this week, where they hope to spread the news about what they see as the county’s improved financial condition. The six-member contingent will meet with representatives from Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the county’s bond rating, which affects how much it costs the county to borrow money, County Manager Lori Depies said.”

BUILDING BOOM: With no bust in sight, per the Washington Examiner, “Washington-area developers have begun planning more construction projects than at any time in the past four years, an early signal that the region's struggling economy may finally be rebounding. Officials in Virginia, Maryland and the District have seen a surge mostly in residential or mixed-use developments, and requests for building permits have reached the point that at least one, Fairfax County, can barely keep up with demand.”

NAYSAYER: Of gun control, per the Washington Times, “Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, said Sunday that universal background checks on all gun sales are “a bridge too far for most of us” as Democrats try to cobble together a package that can win 60 votes in the Senate. “We do need to strengthen the background check system, but universal background checks , I think, is a bridge too far for most of us,” Mr. Flake said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The paperwork requirements alone would be significant.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Wizards beat Toronto 109-92; Philadelphia beats Caps 5-4; NCAA men’s Final Four set: Syracuse, Louisville, Wichita State, Michigan.

DOT YOUR I’S: And cross your T’s, per City Paper, “An audit by the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General released (Friday) found that D.C.'s Department of Employment Services had numerous accounting and record-keeping errors when administering federal job training grants from October 2008 to the end of 2011. The DOL's OIG is recommending the feds try and recoup $8.8 million in "questioned costs" DOES "improperly charged" the federal government.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is Jim Dinegar, head of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, who will be asked about the Maryland General Assembly approving a transportation funding plan, and the D.C. Council considering 'big box' legislation.

--Skip Wood

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